Securing a TESOL job is certainly manageable, but it requires effort and meeting certain criteria. While the global demand for English language skills is growing, leading to numerous teaching opportunities, simply being a native English speaker is no longer sufficient. Countries have implemented stricter visa eligibility requirements, and employers have raised their standards for hiring foreign English teachers. The increased popularity of teaching English both overseas and online has intensified competition for prime positions. To enhance your chances, it is important to meet the employers' criteria and consider additional qualifications or experience. Although jobs are abundant in many regions, the ease of obtaining a TESOL position depends on your qualifications, experience, and the effort you put into your job search.
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There is one important thing that every prospective teacher needs if they want to land a well paid job with a respected employer: An internationally recognized TESOL certificate. These days, there are very few employers out there who are willing to take a gamble on a teacher who has no relevant qualifications or experience. If you have a long history of teaching English, you should be well placed to find a job. However, the reality is that most ESL teaching positions are filled by inexperienced teachers and the majority of employers will choose a job applicant who has some level of teaching qualification on their CV/resume.
As the level of teaching qualification required varies from job to job and country to country, it is vital that you do plenty of research to ensure you know exactly what you need to get the kind of job you want, where you want it. In some countries you will need to apply for a work permit or visa and these are sometimes restricted to people with a certain level of TESOL certification. For example, you might have to prove you have completed a course of at least 120 hours of study. Some individual employers also have their own standards that you will need to meet if you want to apply for a job with them. The only way you can be sure you meet the requirements of individual countries and employers is to do plenty of research.
If you are planning to teach English abroad, you probably have a clear idea of the type of environment you want to live and work in. Some people want to work in a famous city, such as Rome, New York, or Shanghai. While others dream of spending their free time lazing in a hammock under a shady palm tree. However, the reality is that first-time teachers might struggle to land the job of their dreams until they have got some experience under their belt. When looking for your very first teaching job it might be necessary to look at areas where there are large numbers of vacancies, rather than the most sought after spots. For example, many Asian countries have more vacant jobs than there are teachers to fill them. While these positions might not be exactly what you have dreamed about, they will give you the experience you need to apply for more sought after positions at a later date. And don't forget, these compromise jobs will still include a good salary and even extra benefits such as free housing or airfares.
Assuming you have finished your TESOL certification course, completed plenty of research, and put together a list of realistic destinations, it is now time to start sending off your job applications. It is not uncommon for some TESOL related jobs to attract dozens of applicants from around the world, so it is vital that you make the effort to stand out. The first thing the employer will see from you is your CV/resume and the cover letter that you have sent along with it. If these are badly constructed or do not fit the requested format, you might well find your application goes straight in the trash, no matter how impressive your qualifications. Make sure every detail follows the instructions provided and that all your correspondence is on time and professional in appearance.
Some newly qualified teachers make the mistake of only following one route towards finding an ESL teaching job. To give yourself the most options you should embrace every avenue available. Yes, there are plenty of online job boards and forums that carry job adverts. However, there are also TESOL recruitment companies and job placement schemes run by government organizations that also offer some great opportunities if you meet the criteria. By exploring all your options, you should find you have a range of good positions to choose from. As soon as you have got some experience to put on your future job applications, there really will be nothing to stand in the way of you landing that dream job, whether it's located in a spectacular world city or in a quiet beachfront resort.